Test Setup

Professional testing requires the emulation of real-world situations but with repeatable results; thus, a perfectly controllable test setup and environment are required, especially for comparable results. Testing the thermal performance of any case with a typical real-world setup technically limits the comparability of the results to this setup alone, as an active system interacts with its environment and the change of a single component alters (albeit in small ways) myriads of variables. In order to eliminate such factors, we developed synthetic loads that emulate the thermal output of real systems that are passive, steady and quantifiable.

Our thermal testing now displays the thermal capabilities of the case alone, as if it must deal with the entire thermal load by itself, regardless of the system that might be installed inside it. Laboratory data loggers are used to monitor the PT100 sensors and control the safety relays, which are fully accessible via our custom software. Three such loads have been developed, and today we'll be using the ATX load.

The ATX version simulates a 200W CPU, 50W VRM, 30W RAM and 4 × 120W GFX card thermal load; additionally, three 3.5" HDD dummy loads are also present that each convert 30W of electrical power to thermal, bringing the total thermal load of the ATX test setup up to 850W. As such, the thermal load is immense and only the best of cases will be able to handle it for more than a few minutes. We also test with a thermal load of 400W, with all of the aforementioned components except the HDD drives at about 42% power, which is more suitable for the majority of cases.

Thermal testing is performed with all of the case's stock fan operating at maximum speed. Noise testing is performed with a background noise level of 30.4dB(A).

Results and Discussion

Due to the excessive ventilation and good stock cooling fans, the thermal performance of the Corsair Obsidian 450D is great for a mid-tower case. As there is virtually no way for the warm air to get trapped inside the Obsidian 450D, even the stock cooling options are sufficient to handle a massive thermal load. It handled the massive 850W load induced by our test system for over one and a half hours and displayed great thermal inertia when the load was reduced down to 400Watts. Judging by the performance figures of our testing, the thermal performance of the Obsidian 450D could give a lot larger and more expensive cases a run for their money.

The excellent thermal performance of the Obsidian 450D however is not without side effects. With the exception of the side panels, every other panel of the case is perforated and virtually no measures have been taken to reduce the noise output; even the front panel cover is punched full of holes. As a result, the Obsidian 450D makes virtually no attempt to reduce noise levels in terms of the casing. Fortunately, Corsair has installed very good stock cooling fans that generate very little noise even at their maximum speed. If the voltage of the fans is reduced to 7V or below, the most sensitive ears will be able to catch only a very slight aerodynamic humming noise from a short distance. If low noise operation is a concern, with careful planning it is easy to have a very low noise system set up inside the Obsidian 450D, but this case has not really been designed with that in mind.

Corsair Obsidian 450D Interior Final Words
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  • ekagori - Sunday, April 6, 2014 - link

    I personally like the way E has been reviewing his cases, using stock cooling in a case and components gives you a good idea how well a system will handle such constant loads at its most basic cooling levels. People complain about variance in components, well guess what, if a case can handle 850W of constant heat with stock cooling, it can handle a system with a 4930k, R9 290x, 3 HDDs that produces 550W. Oh but you wish to add another R9 290x for CF and now produces 800W? Well guess what, it can still handle it. Oh but what if I add a Noctua NH-D14 cooler to my rig...Hmmm... it will still handle it... What about if I add a few extra fans....Hmmm...yeah still good.

    The point of the review is for us to know if a system can handle a "normal" 450W load or an "extreme" 850W load on stock cooling regardless of what components you are using. Of course temperatures will be lower if you use better fans, better cpu cooler, water cooling for gpus, etc. But they will never be any higher or worse than at stock.

    If people have such a problem with this methodology and want to have "useful" reviews based on individual components they may want to purchase than you should start spending countless of your hours to make your own reviews, let's see how far you get before you decide that reviewing thousands of different combinations is just plain useless and way too time consuming.
  • Sushisamurai - Monday, April 7, 2014 - link

    ^ this. The current methodology is better than the previous method due to the standardized input of heat. It eliminates most variables due to component differences.

    Additional comparisons between stock and added/differing components would be rendered pointless, as the stock would be a reference point and the components would therefore be akin to a margin of error. The problem lies in the variability of different setups/components giving far too many margin's of error. Which one would you use?

    Say @stock @current methodology Case X dissipates @42 degrees @850W.
    Components A test Case X @44 degrees @850W
    Components A test change front fan B Case X @46 degrees @850W
    Components A test change back fan B Case X @41 degrees @850W
    Now what happens when you start mixing top/front/back fans and components? You're essentially testing components in a set Case, with new data points that are not comparable to other reviews. Or, you're essentially testing components to build the best setup in terms of heat-noise-temperature for that set case (common, Anandtech can't do all the work for you)
  • Hrel - Friday, April 11, 2014 - link

    This case gets no quieter than 32db? That's absurdly loud.
  • JimmyJame - Thursday, October 16, 2014 - link

    Extremely disappointed in this product yes it might only be a small part however I have paid top dollar for this product. Opened up the box unpacked everything then come to find that the plastic foot at the back of the case has been broken. Plastic crap!
  • phorgan1 - Saturday, February 6, 2016 - link

    Corsair's web site says it supports eATX but you don't list that. Since I'm looking at a GIGABYTE GA-Z170X-SOC FORCE which is an eATX board, it sure would be nice to have confirmation.
  • SCyn - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - link

    How do i undervolt the fans? help

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